Positioning, Naming, Brand Identity, Collateral
A little taste of Cinque Terre for D.C.
Each Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) restaurant is a New York institution in its own right. For decades this legacy has been carefully cultivated close to home, but with the Thompson Hotel in DC, USHG was expanding outside NYC for the first time. Our goal was to create a brand that could capture the team’s ethos of hospitality — grounded in the New York City dining scene — and translate it into a youthful, social bar identity for Washington D.C.
Our concept, Overheard in Italy, embodies the spirit of Italian coastal culture, creating a sense of camaraderie through shared plates, drinks, and experiences. We were inspired by the ease and accessibility of the Cinque Terre region, where the quintessential Italian beach vacation — buzzing beaches filled with energy, fresh fritto misto and a cold glass of wine — are woven into everyday life. “The anchovies” in our brand identity became an allegory for this kind of accessible, communal experience. The hand-drawn illustrations and charming scenarios in which the fish find themselves, along with bold colors and bubbly yet delicate lettering, strikes a charming balance between every day and elevated, familiar and unexpected. It provided the perfect brand platform for USHG’s first big step out of New York, and a roadmap for their next generation of bar-forward ventures.